The race for the Nairobi woman representative seat has attracted eight contestants.
The latest entrants – Esther Passaris and 24-year-old Nadya Khan whose slogan is ‘Balozi wa Mama na Watoto” – have promised to enchant an already hotly contested seat at the city.
Pasaris and Nadya join the list of contestants including the incumbent Rachel Shebesh, civil society activist Janet Muthoni Ouko, Millicent Omanga, nominated member of the Nairobi County Assembly Wambui Ng’ang’a, lawyer Karen Nyamu and Beatrice Kwamboka.
Passaris recently joined ODM and will carry the party’s flag for the seat, making a second stab for a seat she lost to Shebesh in the 2013 General Election on a Kenya National Congress party.
Maendeleo Chap Chao
Apart from Nadya who is vying on a Maendeleo Chap Chap ticket, the seven others will square it out in the Jubilee Party primaries this Friday and ODM on Tuesday next week.
The incumbent will slug it out with Muthoni, who has been in advocacy and politics since her university days, Omanga, Nyamu and Ng’ang’a in the Jubilee nominations, which promise to be the mother of all battles.
Whoever will win from President Uhuru Kenyatta’s party will face either Passaris or Ms Kwamboka on the ODM and renew the Jubilee versus ODM rivalry witnessed in the 2013 polls.
For Shebesh, Passaris and Omanga, it will be the second time criss-crossing the length and breadth of the once ‘city in the sun’ asking the residents for their votes.
Omanga, whose slogan is ‘Msupa na works’, says the incumbent has not delivered anything and promises better things.
“Shebesh must go because she has been somewhat absent in her huge county vote,” says Omanga who is a close ally of Deputy President William Ruto and was an active member of the defunct URP.
Omanga’s message is shared by both Ng’ang’a and Nyamu, who claim that Shebesh has failed to deliver.
The Jubilee Party aspirants have put up chic slogans as they excite their supporters.
“The incumbent has not been active since she was elected. She has been absent. Now she is all over the place campaigning like any other aspirant, her record does not speak,” said Nyamu.
Ng’ang’a insists she wants to take over and empower the city’s women and youth.
But Muthoni, an activist and veteran of rights advocacy, insists the focus must be on issues and not just captivating slogans.
The education activist says she is a firm believer in the rights of every Kenyan to clean environment, clean water and healthcare. She is a stickler for the right of every child to an education.
“I have spent the past seven years fighting for the right to education and I can confidently say that I am among the people who have brought significant change in the sector. My pledge is to make sure that every Nairobian child is in school,” says Muthoni.
She accuses Shebesh of not fully understanding what the position entailed.
“I was not in agreement with the ‘Manzi wa Nai’ tag because this is not a beauty pageant. This is a substantive position, bestowed on women by Kenyans through the Constitution. Sadly other contestants have also lost the plot already at the campaign level and have turned into a competition for looks and sexy slogan,” she says.
She said that the office holder is supposed to make a difference in the lives of young girls, women and the youth of this country.
“I have seen other aspirants who look like they are competing in a beauty contest. When I get elected, I will make it a serious office and work hard to solve the problems facing Kenyans,” she says.
According to Muthoni, she will seek to ensure that all children receive the same quality of education by pushing for legislative reforms in the sector.
“I am offering myself because I am tired of bad leadership. I want the good leadership I am seeing in my vision,” said Muthoni.
Ms Khan, an international relations graduate of Riara University, is the youngest aspirant for the woman representative seat in Nairobi.
Nadya says she is in sync with the challenges of the Nairobi woman especially in business.
“I run a family business in Nairobi and I have first-hand experience of the tribulations women and the youth go through each day as they go about their day-to-day activities.